The trade that will bring Charlie Coyle to the Boston Bruins isn’t even official yet, likely held up by the fact that the Bruins have a game tonight and will have to make room for him on the NHL roster.
While we wait for the ink to dry on the trade sheet, one thing is pretty clear: adding Charlie Coyle to this Bruins roster makes the team better. It gives them a little more depth, a little more punch up front.
However, there’s a second part to this: a fear that the Bruins gave up a kid with the ever-tantalizing POTENTIAL for a player who probably isn’t enough to lift the Bruins to the level of true Stanley Cup contenders.
Losing Ryan Donato hurts, mainly because we all wonder what he can turn into. The college accolades, the Olympic performance, the goals in his first few games...it all added up to a player many Bruins fans were convinced was ready to step in and score 25 goals this year.
Donato’s season had been pretty disappointing thus far, par for the course for many of the younger guys the Bruins hoped would step into bigger roles this season. That won’t stop fans from wondering what might be (people still complain about the Blake Wheeler trade) in the days and weeks to come.
Trades should be evaluated at the time of the trade, and in that case, this trade makes the Bruins better without depleting the current roster, so sure, it’s a win.
But for it to be a real win, it will depend on what else the Bruins do at the deadline. For this trade to have a real impact, there should be another move in the works.
It’s become a little tired at this point, but the assumption is that the Bruins, as currently constructed, don’t have the horses to get past Tampa in the East. If you accept that as fact, this move inches them a little closer to Tampa’s level, but doesn’t put them over the top.
If there’s another move in the works, however, one that adds the secondary scoring punch the team has been seeking for years, this move could be a pretty big one because of the depth it adds to the bottom half of the forward corps.
Say, for example, Don Sweeney goes all in and brings in Mark Stone from the Ottawa Senators. All of a sudden, this move solidifies your third line after you add some serious scoring might to the first and second lines.
A move like that would make the acquisition of Coyle more of a depth trade, one designed to bolster the lineup rather than one designed to make a major impact (think back to the acquisition of Rich Peverley in the aforementioned Blake Wheeler trade).
Coyle is a solid player, one who should help improve the Bruins’ 5v5 play regardless of where he ends up in the lineup.
But for this trade to really move the needle, here’s to hoping Sweeney has something else up his sleeve.
But what about Donato?
While the focus is rightly on the guy joining the team, we should spare some words for the departing Ryan Donato. The reaction to shipping him out seems to be a mixed bag. Some think he was never going to be a prolific scorer at the NHL level, others think he can already provide more scoring than Coyle.
The first thing that came to mind when hearing of the deal is that the Bruins bailed on Donato a little too early. You have to give to get, of course, and you’re never really going to make a trade that improves your team without giving up something that stings.
Donato is probably a guy who suffered from his own hype train, a guy who was built up to be a game-changing scorer coming into the NHL and never was able to fill those shoes.
However, the fact that he was only given 49 NHL games to fill those shoes should be enough to give you pause. Donato may not have blossomed into an elite goal-scorer as quickly as many would have liked, but I can’t help but think that if your mind was made up that Donato would be used as a trade chip, you could have gotten more for him than Charlie Coyle.
Regardless, Donato will now get a chance to turn into that goal-scorer in another organization. In return, the Bruins get a guy who’s a little more proven and is under contract for another season.
If Donato starts pouring them in for the Wild, you can bet on the Blake Wheeler Trade Truthers to sink their teeth into a batch of fresh takes.